ACWORTH, Ga. -- The Columbus High girls soccer team made history Saturday by just appearing in the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state championship match.
The Lady Blue Devils were the first public school team from Columbus to play for a state soccer title.
But that did little to soothe the hurt of losing the state title 2-1 to Allatoona High.
"I tried to tell the kids to start thinking about that now, but they are just kids; it's going to take awhile," Columbus coach Rusty Oliver said. "This is one of those life lessons. Hopefully, for them, the hurt will go and they will be proud of what they accomplished. They should be.
"They have done amazing things, historic things, and I hope for them the pain is replaced by pride real fast."
Allatoona scored its goals in the first 22 minutes of the second half and held on from there.
The Lady Buccaneers limited Columbus' offense. The Lady Blue Devils (18-5) didn't find the net until senior Madison See scored on a free kick with 3:51 remaining in the game.
"Our kids fought to the very end. We were down two goals and we came back," Oliver said. " Our kids played their guts out.
"We were playing a 5A school. Everything was stacked against us. We were playing on the road, and our kids just missed it by a goal. I am extremely proud of them. As far as I am concerned, that's the best true 3A team in the state," he added, pointing toward his players.
Columbus sophomore goalkeeper Anna Scogin
was under almost constant pressure from the Allatoona attack. She finished with seven saves, including a leaping stop of a header by Sarah Whitt off a corner kick at the 18:30 mark of the first half.
"It could have easily been a 4-1 game," Oliver said. "She played great in goal. I am sure she is beating herself up over the two goals, but she played great. They have speed. They have skill. They are a great team.
"We didn't play 80 minutes of perfect soccer, and that is a lot to ask of anybody."
Allatoona, which won its first girls soccer championship, got goals from Willough Davis and Kristy Wise. Davis' goal came with 31:35 to go in the game. Wise's came with 18:01 remaining.
"I think we had some passes to the backside which got our forwards loose," Allatoona coach Bill Perry said. "I think that was a little bit of the difference."
The Lady Blue Devils won an earlier meeting between the teams, 3-2, on March 17. However, both teams were missing some key players.
"We just threw that game out the window," Oliver said. "As far as we were concerned, that game never happened. It gave us some confidence that we beat a team like them back then."
See's goal was her 22nd of the season.
"There is no quit in Columbus; they play so hard," Perry said. "There is not that much difference between the players Rusty puts in and we put in. We got a couple of lucky breaks and were able to get in behind them.
"Madison played a phenomenal game, especially to put them back within a goal. She is such a huge, dominant factor on the field, wherever she is. We were following her all the time."
See is one of only two seniors on the Columbus team with Sam Haley being the other. Oliver was not willing to entertain the thought that Columbus could make another run at a state title next year.
"The seniors we are losing mean so much to this team," Oliver said. "We lost six last year, and this is a better team than we had last year. Losing those two is going to change the chemistry. I consider we are going to start from scratch. It is going to be a rebuilding year."